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A passion for animals

Amy has always had a passion for animals and when choosing where to study for an animal-based degree, she discovered Reading was a great fit.

“I chose to study at the University of Reading as it ticked all my boxes. The course really suited my interests and desire to learn about all aspects of animal science.

I also valued the green environment on campus, the convenient accommodation options, the University’s sustainability ethos, and the societies that were available.

The University also has a community feel, lots of career support, a large library, as well as other amenities. Reading has plenty of transport links too. All in all, it felt the right choice.”

Rich mix of practical and theory work

Studying in the Department of Animal Sciences has enabled Amy to benefit from a rich mix of practical and theory work. This has allowed her to put her knowledge into use and develop vital skills relevant to a career in the animal sector.

"I really enjoyed the field visits that my course offered, including visits to ZSL and Whipsnade Zoo, allowing me to develop observational skills for studying animal behaviour. Observing penguin behaviour in practice was much more memorable than just learning the techniques in the classroom!"

Amy adds:

"I have also really enjoyed having a smaller number of students on my course, which gives a stronger community and closer relationships between students and lecturers. This has given me confidence to ask more questions and gain the most out of my studies."

Hands-on work experience

Amy undertook a short work experience placement as part of her course, giving her the chance to put her careers and networking skills into practice.

"I helped out at a canine therapy centre and learned how hydrotherapy and laser therapies for dogs are carried out.

I took a hands-on role in the underwater treadmill and hydrotherapy pool, and aided dogs to keep walking or keep their gait steady.

The experience was very rewarding, and I learned a lot from it. Interestingly it helped me reflect as much on what elements of a job I'm not so keen on pursuing, as well as elements I would look for in my future career."

A fascination with dog behaviour

Amy's long-term interest in dogs was enriched by undertaking an independent research project, culminating in her dissertation. This enabled her to bring together a lot of the knowledge and scientific research skills developed through her degree.

"I developed my dissertation idea to focus on dog behaviour issues and the contribution of training to remedying these issues.

My dissertation involved a detailed questionnaire directed at canine behaviourists and trainers. I was able to investigate the prevalence of specific behavioural issues, the training methods recommend for resolving each type of issue (including the scale of aversive training method use), and the implications for dog welfare.

It was challenging but fulfilling to complete such a big piece of work."

University halls – the experience of a lifetime

For Amy, moving away from home and studying was a daunting prospect. She quickly felt at ease after moving into one of the University’s halls of residence. Here she found a supportive living environment to settle into student life.

"One of my absolute favourite elements of my Reading experience was staying in halls during my first year, where I met most of my closest friends that I still have today.

Living with other students in the same position allowed me to embrace new experiences and form strong friendships. We were all in the same boat – learning how to budget, cook and manage our time and it was good to share these challenges.

The 'Home at Halls' events offered budget-friendly activities that were local and fun, enabling great opportunities to get to know people."

Keeping up hobbies at University

The societies that Amy joined were also a great way for her to make friends and stay motivated to keep up with her hobbies alongside her studies.

"I've been part of the Arts and Crafts Society and the Book Society, and have been a Course Rep and Student Ambassador too.

I found involvement in societies important, as they gave me experiences that complemented my academic experience. Taking up these opportunities gave me confidence – I have gone to a lot more events alone and learned to enjoy time by myself, as well as enjoying social occasions.

I've been empowered to take control of my life, growing into the person I want to be. I am proud of becoming much more independent through my time at Reading."

Future aspirations

Reflecting on what might come next, Amy says:

"I aspire to work in animal research, nutrition, or something related to studying behaviour. However, I really have enjoyed every aspect of my course, so this is subject to change!"

Choose Bioveterinary Sciences at the University of Reading

Find out more about undergraduate life in the Department of Animal Sciences